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Vision of Judaism: Wrestling with God

Vision of Judaism: Wrestling with God
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Index , Notes , Bibliography
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Does Judaism have a future? In this new book Dan Cohn-Sherbok provides an overview of the central beliefs and practices of the past, and offers a new vision of Judaism for the future. What is now required is a radical reinterpretation of the faith for modern Jews struggling to make sense of their religious heritage.

Throughout the history of the Jewish nation, Jews have piously kept the covenant. Dedicated to God, they have seen themselves as His chosen people. Yet, from biblical times they have also challenged God. The tradition of wrestling with God begins with Jacob’s confrontation with a divine messenger at the ford of the Jabbok river. Here Jacob struggled with God and thereby became Israel. The Jewish people collectively are Israel (‘he who wrestles with God’). From biblical times to the present, religious Jews have struggled to make sense of God's nature and action in the light of contemporary knowledge. This book which presents a new vision of Judaism for the 21st century stands in this tradition.

"Dan Cohn-Sherbok's Vision of Judaism is a personal, intriguing and courageous vision of what Judaism should become as it confronts the post-modern realities and conundrums of globalization and multiculturalism. This fascinating volume argues, contrary to traditional Jewish theology, that contemporary Judaism must assert the values of pluralism and religious creativity if this ancient faith is to be true to its own traditions. This book will be of significant value to all who are interested in understanding religious change and the new realities of Jewish life all over the globe."
--Charles Selengut, Professor of Religious Studies, Drew University

"Here is a message with sweep and vision not only for Jews, but for all followers of Abrahamic faith. The author's comments on social institutions point out the heritage related to the welfare of all humanity. This is one of the most effective books we have had for years about monotheism as a global faith. This book will add immeasurable enjoyment, understanding and knowledge to the sensitive reader."
--Dr. Eliezer Glaubach-Gal, Chairman, I. Foerder Institute for Liberal Studies, Jerusalem, Israel

"This is an age in which many previously intolerant religions that claimed they possessed the only route to salvation are beginning to recognize that there is more than one route to God. Dan Cohen-Sherbok has produced a book that shows in rich detail how historical events, philosophy, and science have produced transformations in Jewish beliefs about religion. He then advocates an ecumenical and personalistic transformation in Jewish religion that fits his understanding of the contemporary world. Many modern Jews will agree with him. Even many who will disagree with him will find that his provocative arguments will enrich their understanding of their own positions."
--Morton A. Kaplan, Editor and Publisher, The World & I


PART I: Wrestling with Myself
Chapter 1: Wrestling with Myself

PART II: Wrestling with the Message
Chapter 2: Divine Unity
Learning about God
Jewish Monotheism
Judaism and Other Religions
Chapter 3: Omnipotence and Omniscience
A God of Power and Knowledge
All-Mighty and All-Knowing
Theological Perplexities
Chapter 4: Creation
The Origin of the Cosmos
One Creator
Science and Creation
Chapter 5: Divine Providence
God's Intervention
Providential Care
Divine Action
Chapter 6: Revelation and Inspiration
Divine Revelation
Authority and Personal Freedom
Chapter 7: Torah and Commandments
Reform Judaism and the Mitzvot
Divine Commandments
Jewish Practice in a New Age
Chapter 8: Sin, Repentance, and Forgiveness
Sin and Atonement
Transgression and Forgiveness 100/ Responsibility in the Modern World
Chapter 9: Chosen People
God and Israel
Jewish People
From Chosenness to Global Theology
Chapter 10: Promised Land
The Holy Land
The Jewish State
Chapter 11: Messiah
The Messianic Age
Messianic Deliverance
Post-Messianic Judaism
A Post-Messianic Credo
Chapter l2: Afterlife
Immortality of the Soul
The Hereafter
Reflections on Life after Death

PART III: Wrestling with the World
Chapter l3: Jewish Community

Reform Judaism and Jewry
Community Life
Open Judaism
Chapter l4: Worship
Reform Worship
Reflections on Jewish Worship
Chapter l5: Education
Reform Religion School
Jewish Education
Judaism in the Modern World
Chapter l6: The Sabbath
Reform Judaism and the Sabbath
Sabbath Worship
Sabbath Rest
Chapter l7: Passover, Sukkot, and Shavuot
The Pilgrim Festivals
Celebrating the Pilgrim Festivals
Liberation and the Heritage
Chapter l8: High Holy Days
Reform Observance
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
Sin and Forgiveness
Chapter l9: Days of Joy
Reform Celebration
Joyous Ceremonies
Jewish History and Freedom
Chapter 20: Life-Cycle Events
Reform Jewish Practice
The Jewish Life-Cycle
Observing the Jewish Life-Cycle
Chapter 21: Home
The Reform Home
Jewish Home Ritual
A Modern Jewish Home
Chapter 22: Death and Mourning
Reform Observance
Death and Burial
Mourning in the Modern World

PART IV: Wrestling with the Vision
Chapter 23: Wrestling with the Vision

Further Reading

RABBI PROFESSOR DAN COHN-SHERBOK is Professor of Judaism and Director of the Centre for the Study of the World’s Religions at the University of Wales at Lampeter. He received a Doctorate in Philosophy from Cambridge University and a Doctorate of Divinity from the Hebrew Union College. He has served as a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Essex, Middlesex, St Andrews, Durham, and Vilnius. He is author or editor of over 50 books including The Jewish Heritage, The Blackwell Dictionary of Judaica, Modern Judaism, Judaism and Other Faiths, and World Religions and Human Liberation.

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